What Is Pre-Litigation in A Personal Injury Claim?
Pre-litigation is an important preparatory stage in a successful personal injury lawsuit. It involves consulting with experts, gathering evidence, and following pre-trial procedures.
In most cases, personal injury claims get settled through negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company, especially when the defendants recognize that their lawyer has collected strong evidence and has a formidable track record of settlements and verdicts.
You may be able to resolve your claim out of court even after the lawsuit has been filed. You should consult with a diligent and stellar personal injury attorney in California to obtain maximum financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Happens During the Pre-Litigation Phase?
Pre-litigation phase is the legal process that occurs before the case is ready to go to trial. The circumstances at this stage are unique to every case. Typically, this phase includes procedures and protocols, such as investigation, notice, demand, and settlement negotiations.
Attorneys and case managers invest a considerable amount of time and effort in this phase to settle a claim before the trial begins. It’s critical that you find an attorney that doesn’t only depend on settlement negotiations. They should prepare a strong case that can be taken to trial.
Notice is one of the processes in the pre-litigation phase. Your attorneys will send out a letter to the at-fault party and their insurance company to cover your damages as per policy limits and coverage. The next step is an investigation, which is again important. It creates the foundation for a successful case.
Documents, facts, employment records, medical records, police reports, and witness statements are gathered and examined thoroughly. A demand letter will be sent out to the at-fault party’s insurance company after the investigation phase. This letter will include details, such as the extent of damages and injuries. It will also describe the incident in detail.
In general, the pre-litigation phase involves the following:
- Gathering evidence in the form of photos, videos, physical and forensic evidence, eyewitness statements, police reports, medical reports, among others.
- Consulting with third-party experts, such as accident reconstructionists and medical professionals to learn more about your accident and injuries.
- Calculating the estimated value of your financial claim.
- Preparing legal arguments that establish why you are entitled to compensation.
- Filing a personal injury claim against the insurer or defendant and negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
Settlement negotiations can begin between the attorneys, insurance company, and client after the demand letter has been sent. This step entails mediation tactics and other alternative ways to settle the claim without litigation.
The attorney may find it in the client’s best interest to go forward with the lawsuit if settlement negotiations break down. Your attorney will take the step forward to a formal discovery process and trial.
Difference Between Pre-litigation and Lawsuit
The pre-litigation process is designed to help settle the case without ever having to go through a trial or be fully prepared for trial when a settlement is not possible. It involves all the steps to pave the way for a settlement. Pre-litigation or pre-suit is a separate process from a lawsuit, and it should not be seen as something to avoid a lawsuit.
The pre-suit process begins when you call the insurance company following an accident. There are several determinants that need to be evaluated by a personal injury attorney before moving forward to the trial phase.
Pre-litigation claims usually include the following actions:
- Establishing a claim
- Retaining attorney representation
- Property damage
- Doctor visits and due care
- Recorded statements
- Signing releases
- Negotiating with the insurance company
An important part of your personal injury claim is medical evidence. You need to ensure that you are properly diagnosed for all injuries you sustained as a result of the auto accident. In ideal situations, you would be able to settle with the insurance company following the medical treatment.
You will be placed on a treatment schedule for this by your doctor. They will evaluate you consistently for a few weeks until you are completely back to a pre-accident state or as close as possible.
It’s best that you consult with an attorney before seeking compensation on your own. Once you settle with the insurance company, you won’t be able to ask for more compensation, even if there are further complications.
Time Taken During the Pre-Litigation Process
The timeline for the pre-litigation process is different depending on the individual circumstances of a case. There are several different factors that can impact the time taken during the pre-litigation process. This includes:
- Clarity of liability.
- Nature and extent of the injuries.
- Whether you have fully recovered from the injuries.
- Insurance provider.
- Value of your claim.
- Experience of the attorney you select.
- Amount of paperwork involved in the claim.
In some cases, personal injury claims are settled within months during the pre-litigation process. Pertaining to this, if litigation becomes necessary your claim may take more than a year to go to trial. It’s crucial that you consult with a prolific attorney that understands the law surrounding personal injury claims.
Get Legal Representation from a Reputable Personal Injury Firm
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless acts, the accomplished personal injury attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP can help you through the pre-litigation and litigation process. Our attorneys have the necessary experience, knowledge, and resources to answer all your questions, evaluate your claim, negotiate the best possible settlement, and take your case to court if required.
To request your free, no-obligation consultation with us, call us at 619-441-2500 or write to us online.